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How dieting makes you gain weight

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How dieting makes you gain weight

Dieting is the quickest way to gain weight, with the best of intentions, long term. YUP! You read that right!

Here’s how:

Think back to the first time you thought to yourself “I want to lose weight!” What did you decide to do? Eat less? Go on a diet? Eat “clean”? Follow a weight loss meal plan? Regardless of which you chose – they all have 1 thing in common: restriction.

Restriction of how much food you let yourself eat, restriction of what types of food you let yourself eat, restriction of your mindset with all of the stipulations you’re now thinking about.

With each of those methods I mentioned above, the premise is if you follow that way of eating perfectly, you will lose weight because your cravings for bad foods will go away, and you’ll just naturally eat things that are healthy. Or that it’ll rev up your metabolism to be in mega-fat burning mode. 

Or something along the lines of: “You’re craving junk food because you’re not eating the right things, so if you just eat perfectly even for a little bit of time it will heal you and you won’t crave anything anymore!” Or something similar.

Let’s de-bunk all of this!

Back to what all of those methods of weight loss have in common: restriction. I’m going to refer to it all as a “diet” to make things easy.

The closest thing to a diet, biologically, is a famine. What happens when you restrict food (either how much you can eat or what types you can eat) is your body goes into a crisis mode. It believes that there’s a shortage of food, and it’s in a famine.

This triggers a whole chain of events that happen naturally in our body based on our biology and how we’re all wired.

Our body immediately slows down. Instead of burning fat for fuel, it burns muscle tissue. It fixates on food because it’s essential to our survival. It produces a hormone that makes food (especially sugar and carbs for energy and because they promote fat storage) look way better and more appetizing. And at the first chance it gets, your body wants you to binge.

That’s what it’s asking for, that’s what it’s wired for.

Sure your conscious brain knows you’re on a diet, but your subconscious brain thinks your starving, so it does what it instinctively knows how to do to keep you alive! 

If your body believes there isn’t enough food or starts to fall under your body’s natural weight set point, it holds onto body fat (and tries to pack on even more) because it’s a great source of stored energy. It doesn’t know how long there will be a famine/shortage of food, so it wants to stock up!

That’s why when you go off your diet (if the plan ends, or you fall off the wagon), you can put on even more weight than when you started.

It’s not because you’re someone who failed or is spiraling out of control or are broken/food addicts/can’t stick to a plan…it’s because your body is purposely putting on weight biologically to save you from this ‘famine’ you put yourself on. It’s what’s supposed to happen!

But instead, that self-blame and feelings of guilt and failure usually trigger a new diet. So you go harder and more extreme and ridged than last time.

But now it feels even harder to stick to. You also don’t see results as quickly since you’re burning fewer calories because you’ve been dieting and eating less, your metabolism is slower (because your body is afraid of this famine-like state), you have less energy, and less muscle.

Eventually as soon as our guard goes down and we do binge, we feel guilty and horrible and think ‘what’s wrong with me, why am I so addicted to food?” so we put ourselves on yet another diet which just perpetuates the cycle.

Willpower is no match for your body’s biology.

Stepping out of the cycle is SO important because the way you’re trying so hard to ‘get healthy’ is actually making you less healthy…and mentally driving you crazy! The great news is, no matter how far you feel you are into the never-ending dieting cycle – it’s never too late to bounce back.

Want to hit reset button on your relationship with food and your body? I’d love to help you! Click here to schedule a free phone consultation with me 🙂



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